Jon Ronson on This American Life at 500 | Hazlitt | Random House of Canada:
Do you have a favourite episode?
I really like the Mike Daisey episodes. [In the first episode, Daisey visits an Apple computers factory in China to uncover appalling conditions. After his reporting is revealed to be fraudulent, TAL followed up with a show where they confront Daisey about his fabrications.] I’m sure Ira won’t like me for saying it. Both the original one and the redacted one—I think both of those were incredibly strong.
Those are so strong, especially the second one, because you hear Daisey working through what he did out loud. You hear him trying to sort it out.
I thought he was kind of brilliant. Ira did what he had to do. He had to protect the show, so he did that. But he wasn’t any crueler or harder than he had to be. He didn’t take it too far, you know? Daisey said they had different worldviews, and Ira said, “well, I have a normal worldview.” I just love that line. And the fact that Mike Daisey says he contributed to two of This American Life’s most interesting shows is really funny. I’m glad that he came out of it without his life in tatters. To me it’s kind of perfect. The show stayed clean, it didn’t hurt them, which is about how Ira played it. But also, Mike Daisey has carried on having a career. I think that’s kind of wonderful.
I think it’s only the Apple corporation that’s not happy. But otherwise…
It turned out fine for everyone!